A NORTH-East pub has picked up a national award after cooking thousands of meals for elderly and vulnerable people during lockdown.

Simon and Rachel Leadbetter, who run The Mowden pub in Darlington, were named "lockdown heroes" at the Great British Pub Awards last night.

The couple took home the title after raising £9,500 and cooking more than 10,000 free meals for people at the height of the coronavirus.

The pair were able to buy ingredients through donations and used the pub's kitchen to batch cook meals which were delivered across Darlington with a team of helpers.

The awards focussed this year on work done by venues to support their communities during the pandemic.

The Northern Echo:

In the kitchen of The Mowden during lockdown

Ed Bedington, editor of pub trade brand The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “Early on in the pandemic we received calls from pub owners telling us of the community work going on in towns, villages and cities. This was all being done despite the pub owners fearing for their own livelihoods. But they knew, even though they faced adversity themselves, they had to continue to support people in their communities. That’s just what publicans do."

The 15 winners will share £165,000 from Coca-Cola to continue their community work and make business improvements in the coming months.